Dayton VA’s Fisher House celebrates first year of operation

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Fisher House at the Dayton VA Medical Center is celebrating one year in operation. The facility has been a game-changer for military families.

This is Virginia Nelson’s second stay at the Fisher House. Her husband, Dwight, is back in the hospital for the second time this month.

Doctors aren’t sure what’s wrong.

“Just sitting in a room waiting for doctors and talking to them is tiring,” she says, adding that it would be even more exhausting if she didn’t have a place to go afterward.

The Nelsons live in Lima, 100 miles away.

Being able to come to Fisher House at the end of the day gives her a place to rest, to do laundry, and even get something to eat, in an area that’s known as a food desert.

“You have a shorter day here because you’re tired and trying to comprehend everything. So it’s very relaxing,” Virginia said.

The house opened a year ago and has already touched hundreds of lives, marking a big change for families of veterans.

“The majority of the families the last few years would’ve just stayed on the units. They would’ve slept in their veteran’s room,” said Betsey Striebel, Dayton VA Fisher House manager. “After a couple days of that it gets a little tiring and tough. It’s amazing how much energy you use in a hospital stay as a caregiver.”

Virginia knows that exhaustion well. In addition to moral support as a caregiver, she acts as his eyes.

“He’s almost blind, so I kind of help interpret stuff and also have to help sign stuff. So he would not want to be here by himself,” she said.

Both she and Dwight can rest easier, knowing that she’s safe and nearby.

“It would be very stressful, I think, to find a place here to feel safe. Probably, I wouldn’t come down every day,” she said.

Virginia will be able to stay at Fisher House as long as she needs.

It’s a small thank you for Dwight’s service and sacrifice.

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